Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beyond Soaping: Taking it One Day at a Time....

 So, I been thinking this week.  Pushing back the date which I had set for myself to start my business...great idea or no?

I was reading a post on Wahmtown and it only confirmed my thoughts, ummm...maybe you should.

I hit this startling revelation when I realized that I was jumping into this whole soaper thing head first....off a steep cliff...

I have a lot of research to do.  And I have to be honest with myself about what I know.  I want my product to be unique and fresh, and I'm really wanting this business to turn out right.  But I need to expand my soapy mind database.  And besides, being a wife, a mommy, and not just a wife and a mommy, a STAY-AT-HOME, wife and a mommy who goes to university...leaves not that much time with soaping.  And plus


My daughter is growing up so fast, and I find myself setting aside a few play dates with my lab/kitchen just to make sure I don't miss not one  moment.  Between soap, hubby, house, more soap, and little papeechka (her nickie)  I don't know where my time is coming from!!!!

So I've written re-written, my business mommy plan:

Take it one day at a time...

Making money is great, but without the proper knowledge and skills, as a business, you will lose your integrity, honesty, and overall quality of the business itself and the product.  So my new plan, is to stop, remain level headed, and do my research first.


That TOTALLY doesn't mean I'm gonna stop making soap!! It just means, I'll totally be on top of my reasearch while making soap (and totally still posting it).  And the Etsy opening date will most likely be pushed back.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's alive!!!!!

So aside from making soap for Etsy customers, I make soap for my family.  I made a basic lye soap recipe that didn't require much work or too much time. These were technically experiment batches.  But they worked out well for my husband and daughter.
I had:
6 cups of Lye soap flakes
3 Tbsp of water (for my daughter's soap)
1/2 cup of water (for the big guy)
1 oz Olive oil
1 oz Shea butter

So as you can see, this was a pretty simple rebatch recipe.  I wanted to test out whether I could get great soap using less water or using more:

I made two separate batches, using 3 cups each.  I used the "boiler bag" method where I just put the soap with the ingredients in a plastic bag and boiled it.  This method works fast if you have small amounts of soap.
I then added all shea butter to my husband's batch, and olive oil to my daughter's.  As you can see, the big guy's soap is OILY.  Simply because I totally didn't mix the batch up right.  The one with less water came out superb, save the fact that the Lye flakes didn't melt all the way.  But even so, it still added a nice little look to it.
The soap on the right eventually did dry, oil and all, and is very smooth and creamy.  The one on the left got my daughter's seal of approval and is hard, but has a very creamy lather.

So overall, my experiment came out great! And with each experiment comes new ideas for the actual customer soaps. I didn't add any fragrance, or smell, just regular functional soap, and I was actually suprised at the turn out.

See, mad scientists have all the fun.

Joyous soaping!!

Review Time!!!: Zum Bar

What is part of the inspiration of my crazy soap ideas?

Zum Bar!!!!!

My mind first started sparking when I found this baby!  I was walking down the isle at Whole Foods and I see a huge loaf of all types of colored, crazy, and unique blends of ingredients.  Not to mention, its main ingredient is goat milk, said to do wonders on the skin.

So what do I do? Cut a piece and take it home with me.  I used it that night and all I have to say is WOW!  I used Lavendar-lemon and loved how the scent just stayed on your skin, not to mention it didn't dry my skin out.

  • Ingredients are safe and Au Naturelle. I cannot tell you how much I can't STAND ingredients that I cannot pronounce.  Like hey, do you have to insult my intelligence? Just put the word chemical and that'll be enough for me.
  • Uses pure essential oils and mineral pigments, as opposed to dye and fragrance.
  • Easy on the skin.  I have VERY sensitive skin, so sensitive that I'm allergic to the cold (yes, there is such a thing...called Urticaria lol) So that's a plus for me.
  • And finally, the scent is AMAZING.  Lavender lemon was the one that caught my attention and I loved how it stayed on my skin.
  • For a penny pincher like me, 6 bucks for a 3oz bar doesn't really do it.  BUT, what do you expect when its all natural?  I guess you can't penny pinch on everything.
  • Doesn't really specify if the ingredients are organic or not.  
So the pros outweigh the cons.  I haven't used zum bar since I started making my own but I remember the experience like it was yesterday:

So overall, this is a great soap.  Easy on the skin and natural. Not easy on the pockets though.  I'd say just dabble in your own personal Zum Bar (but maybe I'm just biased because I'm a soapmaker.)

Joyous Soaping!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl!!!

Okay bloggers, I am sooooo excited about my new soap!!
Because an experiment went right!!! (On purpose)

 Eh em, pardon my bathroom...

WOOT!!  I was worried about the fragrance since I absolutely REFUSE to use fragrance, due to the fact that I really want my soaps to be Au Naturelle. Typically fragrances are made from chemicals produced in a lab.  So I had been experimenting with herbs and infused oils, boosted with Essential oils.  For this batch I used:
5lbs soap base
3 tsp of ground cinnamon (to create the swirls! AH! I finally got the swirls after hours of google-time)
Apple cinnamon infused oil
*Theives essential oil (very little, but it's said that Thieves has wonderful antibacterial properties, and a nice cinnamon aroma)
4 oz shea butter
3 cups of water (a part of my experimenting with rebatch, adding much more water)

Let the soap melt, add the ingredients (not the scents, I waited until I took the soap out of the double boiler to add them so that the scent and EO wouldn't evaporate)
Soft, smooth, swirly cinnamon.  My husband tried it out and no complaints.  Cinnamon can be harsh on the skin, so I diluted the Theives quite a bit, but I like the light hint of cinnamon; not to strong, not invisible.  Now that I've figured out the swirls you should be seeing them a lot more!  What will I come up with next??? hmmmmm....maybe you should decide, would love to try my hand in something completely custom made and original (wink wink)...well, on second thought, lemme get myself out of the "amatuer" category, and into the "semi-amatuer" one...

Joyous Soaping!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review Time!!!: Brambleberry

So a friend of mine referred me to a website called Brambleberry which is all about soapmaking.  You can also order oodles of supplies if you care to dabble into your own soap batches.

So of course I tried it out.  Although i only ordered about two things, I'm pretty pleased with the package!

I will be reviewing only one.

One thing you all will get to know about me soon is that I am cheapy cheapster.  I'd rather not put a lot of  money where I don't have to.  So of course when I buy something, you'll probably see me looking for the best priced item (not Essential Oils, cheap essential oils can mean BIIIGGG problems.  I'll get into that later.)
This was easy on the pockets at only 20 dollars (plus a little shipping and hangling).

It works well. Its lightweight but seems to be very sturdy.  Small and compact for easy storage, and it runs on AAA batteries. (which is convenient, no cords to muss with).  The only thing I don't like about using the batteries is that I have to buy more, but most likely the batteries will take a long time to run out, unless you have the scale on 24/7. 

  It only has two measurements but if you are selling items such as soap, you only need oz, however, this can measure in grams for the soap makers using Lye.  It has a simple design which is what you would expect from a scale costing 20 bucks but it serves it purpose.  I have my measurements for my soap bars and that's all I need.

Brambleberry has some more expensive scales with additional features for all you fancy soapmakers, but if you're looking for simplicity in a penny pinching package this scale is great.

Joyous soaping!


Welcome to Alyah Au Naturelle.  Through my very soapy adventures I'll be posting homemade recipes, reviews on various blogs and products relevant to my "back-to-basics" style, and just my quirky everyday mistakes, pouts, epic fails, and epic successes.  I hope you'll follow me through these adventures that I would love to share with you.

Soon I'll be having various give-a-ways and what I'll call "Recipe of the month".  If you have any special recipes you'd like to share with the blogging community, contact me at alyahaunaturelle@gmail.com.  You never know, you may win something from me (hint hint).

So follow along with me....

Oh oh oh! And I'm a huge supporter for interesting and unique blogs, so feel free to contact me if you'd like me to add a button to this site linking to yours.

Joyous soaping!

I'm a little put put, short and stout...

Eh em...excuse me.  Hey there.
No no no wait, heeeeyyyyy.
Okay, so I'm trying to find a way to introduce myself for my first blog entry, but I'll just start by saying
Now that that's over, lets get started.

 So I started my business a couple days ago (the store is still not up and running).  I'm trying to do everything correctly and well planned so it'll be about two months (I'm hoping) before the online store is up.  I've handled financial who-ha, and FDA technical foola-wang.  And I'm ready to get started on everything from social networking, to making the actual SOAP!
Woo whooo!! Right?

So I look on other sites to get some fresh ideas, for recipes and more.....
Baaadddd ideeaaaaaaaa
So in other words, here's my competition:

And here's me:

I'm a little put put, and they are the Mazda's of the future.

But then I had to stop and think for a minute.  While its great to get inspiration from others, never forget to focus mainly on what you're doing.
So I have some suggestions for all the future, or maybe even amateur entrepreneurs out there like me:

1.Don't get lost in the competition

What I've realized is that a lot of the people (at least out in soapy land) that are making handcrafted soaps have been doing it for quite sometime.  The most popular and unique are going to show up in your search bar vs. the newcomers.  Keep that in mind.

2. Do what you do to the best of your ability.
If you started making soap yesterday, play around, write new and fresh recipes, make them unique and yours.  Like I said, its great to get inspiration but remember that you are trying to make your product say what you want it to say.

3. Be optimistic
I made a batch of cocoa butter bar soap the other day and as a great friend might tell you, I totally FLIPPED when I put the batch into the mold.  Why? Because it looked ugly.  I ended up losing all sense of self-control, worrying and pouting to my husband about how I'm gonna throw away the soap, blah blah blah.  Come to find out when it finally dried, it was beautiful!  So what's my point?  Stop and think when something goes wrong and remain optimistic.  There's no batch of soap in the world that can't be fixed without a little French milling (unless you burnt it).

4.  Give it your all, and have fun.
When you start a project like this, give it your all, and remember to have fun.  I love soapmaking so far and I have so much fun doing it, and have learned from the cocoa butter bars that its better to have fun and become a problem solver and a lab scientist then it is to give up and go back to buying Dial soap in Wal-Mart.

Joyous soaping!!